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2004-08-10 - 5:58 p.m.

Today, I glimpsed something of an empathetic cord with those ladies throughout this nation that regard the Vogue’s and Cosmopolitan’s of the world with the kind of reverence usually reserved for the Bible or Sportscenter. Making readings from Beauty & Style 8/03, looking for knowledge of the soul in the recent “Are you TOO nice?” quiz, and trying to parse the obscure passage in the Dead Sea Scrolls that seems to read “pink is the new black,” when we all know purple was the new black, and now black is the new pink…these denizens of the glossies seem to genuflect with sheer awe at the appearance of Bergdorf’s newest line of strappy black pumps, or a baroquely ornate Prada bag. It has always confused a man like me. (Three pairs of shoes: Brown, Black and sneakers I haven’t used in three years.) It’s a bag. It holds stuff. Done.

I do know it’s a cheap shot to slam the Cosmo generation, but, come on, these people have invented more ways to “please your man” than I ever thought possible, or in any way necessary. Wouldn’t a full body massage with oils just get messy? I really wouldn’t want to stain your sheets, considering the fact that the last time that happened I was beaten quite liberally about the face and neck.

But despite the wide chasm of differences that lay between us, I have now experienced something akin to the wide-eyed wonder that settles into the irises of style centric. Today, opening up that brown cardboard, like unwrapping a poorly decorated Christmas present, and seeing its beautiful overnighted contents, I was filled with that addictive materialistic “new toy” loveliness.

I got a new bag. And it holds stuff. Cool.

With my dearly departed messenger bag of old now lost to the back seat of a taxi, the quest began anew to end the days of carrying my books and cell phones around in plastic.

Quite frankly, I cannot understand anyone who operates from wallet alone. My pockets have bulged uncomfortably for these last weeks, making me look like I have a very unfortunate case of thigh cancer, or a cell phone shaped oblong penis. Neither of these options shined well on me.

I cannot remember an era where I wasn’t desperately tied to some kind of tote, or at least, a jacket with lots and lots of pockets. (The mark of good jacket is having enough room in the pockets to store a comprehensive list of Dennis Rodman’s sexual conquests. I never compiled such a list, and have never had the means to put my outerwear through that intensive stress test, but throughout high school I had enough random pieces of paper shoved into the many nooks in the fabric that my friends called it the filing cabinet.) I’m so tied to my bag that during my camp councilor days, my nickname was “the councilor with the bag.”

Every day the clothes change, the hair cut changes, the eye color changes, you shed your skin and leave a scary curled bundle of dead skin in the middle of the floor, but the bag and the jacket never change. They are the constants. They are the definition. They are our safe house that we can carry with us. Whenever the world becomes too harsh, it is there, to offer us solace, despite the fact that they often eat keys. These are the things we feel naked without. Often times I recognize someone by their amenities rather than their face. Green backpack with a Dave Matthews patch, still…-Hello, Cheryl. Black briefcase with the tail end of a tie, and the sports page sticking out one side – Art! How’s it going?

Soon someday will walk past me, and think: “Black feux-leather (I’m on a budget) messenger bag weighted down with at least three old newspapers, two overdue library books, two notebooks, two cell phones, and a collection of old pay stubs…


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